Thursday, 14 June 2012

Fed up of Brazil!!!!!!

This country is beyond insane.

This week, and last week, has been all about Detran (the organism dealing with driving licences, vehicle registrations etc…).
We went through all the hoops for our licences.

Then I had to deal with my new bike. When I went to pick it up at the shop it had no number plate! I was told to pay some tax and get an appointment with Detran.

I paid the tax on Monday in a bank. I then called Detran and I was told that it takes 48h for the payment to be processed. So I called again on Wednesday morning. I could book my appointment  online but the appointments are only starting next Monday and I flying off on Friday for 3 weeks.

So after spending all morning trying to speak to someone, and being hang on, or redirected to nowhere, I manage to speak to someone for more than 2 minutes before being cut! I am told at Detran that I only have 2 weeks from the date I picked the bike at the shop (showing in the bill) to get the registration done. Otherwise the police will take my bike away (where????).

Over the phone I manage to get an appointment for Thursday 14th morning in Barra. We get there early with Alistair. I was told to bring an Id, CPF number and proof of address. Anything else? No just that!
After being given a piece of paper at the triage I am sent to a shabby building. I take my number and wait.
The girls working there know to take their time while people wait. 3 of them get their clients off and start showing each other their mobile phones and chatting for a long time while people wait. This seems rather usual in Brazil and I have seen it even in shops, while you wait to pay in a big queue!

 I grind my teeth.

After a very long time, my number is called.  

I give all my docs and everything else I could think to bring. I know Brazil by now and brought originals and copies of all the docs that I have and could possibly be asked.

Then the girl takes the copy of my passport and goes away. She comes back and tells me that I need a translation of my passport! What for? Translate the passport number and name?

I’ve never heard of passport’s  translation, but there you go. I ask to speak with her boss who backs her up. I know she is inventing and it is a lie, because Alistair went to Detran for his bike, in another location, and he was not asked for that!

I am livid. There is nothing to do but go home and deal with the bike when I come back from holidays.
I am so furious I tell them “Fuck you” ! Childish? Maybe, but there is only so much anger and frustration you can take. Especially as you notice how much they enjoy this situation!

Unfortunately, although there are many very nice Brazilians, there are also many Brazilians who really don’t like foreigners and resent them. They see foreigners as stealing a job from a Brazilian. They forget to notice that a multinational would not pay expat expenses if they could employ someone locally. The fact is there are just not enough people at a level of education and professional experience to fill the gap!

It is the same issue if you try to look for a job. If you are a foreigner, don’t even bother. No company will give you a job. The foreigners I came across, who came here without an expat deal, seem to be teaching English, usually. Or having the sort of jobs where you can work for yourself like psychologist, physio, etc….
Ok, this is a bad day, and I just want to go home to a civilised country where rules are clear (and not invented on the spot!) and you are not made to go back 3 or 4 times to the same place for a piece of paper and people treat you like a human being!

As many expats have said before me: “ Brazil is not for the beginner” !

Alistair had to go 3 times to Detran in the end, for the registration of his bike. The 1st time because he turned up with original docs and no copies. The 2d one, I can’t remember!

Ha yes, and the best part is that once I come back and book an appointment with Detran again (and have a copy of my passport translated and certified!) I also have to pay a fine, because I will be over the 2 weeks limit. The fact it is entirely Detran’s fault is totally irrelevant of course!

I am going to forget about this now and go pack my stuff. Tomorrow, I am off to the States for 3 weeks. I can’t wait!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

My new Beauty!!!!!!!!!!


Isn't she a beauty? And Fast! Faster than the Versys and more responsive!

Friday, 8 June 2012

I'm not mad! I've been tested....

From now on, anyone who tells me: “Are you insane?” I will be able to answer, proudly: “No, I am not mad, I’ve been tested!”. J

Well, today I spent 4 ½ hours at a DETRAN’s “clinic” (equivalent to the DVLA in  the UK) to assess if I am fit  to drive.

Along with the usual eye test, and medical test (close your eyes, touch the tip of your nose with your left then right index) and in addition to being finger printed again and again, I had to do a psycho test for about 2h.

Everyone has to do it to be fair, not only me (in case you wonder!!!!!). The Brazilians have to do it every 5 years. For foreigners, we need to do that to get our foreign licence replaced by a local one, and be allowed to drive in Brazil.

Well, what can I say! “What a load of crap!”. I suppose this is a way to create non-jobs and keep people employed who otherwise would be unemployed. The Brazilian govt is good at that! Which explains the massive amount of taxes and VAT we pay here.

The 1st test,  we had to draw a continuous line passing along black obstacles. You are not supposed to touch the black obstacles. Okeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey……………

Then, there was a string of little triangles in a full A4 sheet. We were supposed to draw a tiny dot inside each, without touching the edges. Hmmm…….

Then memorise 3 little triangles (one black pointing right, one white pointing left, one white with a spot inside pointing down). You have a full page of triangles and 2minutes. Cross the ones that are similar to the 3 I described. Dohhhhhhhhh……..

Then memorise 16 faces with their names. You have 2 minutes. Turn the page and you have 32 faces to recognise from the list, selecting the correct name. Hmmm… my memory is not that great, combined with Brazilian names….. I got 50%.

Next draw little sticks, as many as you can in line, as straight as you can. Somehow this is supposed to say a lot about your personality! Yep! I can draw sticks!

Last but not least: 20 minutes “intelligence” test. 40 questions.

You have a horse drawing in a page. The tail is missing. Multiple choice answers with various horse's body parts. What should you tick? Hint: not the head!

You have 3 ducks and a 4th empty box. Multiple choice. What should you tick? The dog? Wrong answer. You have to select the duck!

You have 2 triangles, then under it you have one circle, next? What is the missing one? A circle, triangle, square….? Hu… let me think!

About 30 of those questions were so obvious that I suspect even my dog would score 30/30! (Mind you he can be smart, especially when food is involved!).

The last 10 required, ohhh, about 2 seconds to think about it. 2 left me totally puzzled.

So there you go. If you had any doubts, don’t anymore! I was declared sane and fit to drive :). Which is lucky, as I just paid in full for my bike and will go down to Barra to pick it up tomorrow morning! I am ecstatic!
And no, I did not buy the little Honda in the end. You will have to wait to see my new beauty. I give you a clue though! It is a 650cc parallel twin! Guessed yet? 

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Taking a psycho test!

We went  to DETRAN this morning (a bit like the DVLA in the UK), to do the paper work so we can exchange our UK driving licences for brazilian ones. That's the law, we have 6 months from the date of our permanent visa to swap them.

Now, the next step is a medical (eye test) and psycho test! Apparently  the locals have to do the psycho test every 5 years.
No sh*t Sherlock! Of course they have to. You have to be a complete psychopath to drive in Rio by the look of it!

Anyway, I am booked at a Detran's clinic for Friday 8am. I have been told I may be there until 12:30! Oh dear, that is going to be interesting!
Oh yes and the test will be in Portuguese, no translation... hmm....

I keep you posted!